Copyrighted photos and excerpt from Book #2 Isla Mujeres Mystery series:
The long, sleek sport-fishing boat powered slowly backwards into a berth at the Bally Hoo wharf on Isla Mujeres. Her white hull and varnished decks glistened in the bright overhead security lights. A lean figure dressed in khaki shorts, short-sleeved white shirt and deck shoes stepped onto the dock, wrapping the stern line around a bollard as the captain expertly settled the craft. The skipper cut the engines, removed the ignition key and stepped away from the controls.
The deckhand’s shaved, pale head gleamed under the overhead lights, and his short beard looked recent, as if he hadn’t shaved for a few days. Moving along the length of the boat, securing lines and placing heavy foam bumpers between the dock and the hull of the pricey yacht the man looked competent and comfortable around the water. It was a ruse, he didn’t know much at all about big yachts like this one but he was a quick study.
According to the first mate this baby was a classic, a beautifully maintained wooden yacht, custom-built on Harkers Island in North Carolina. Even a tiny scratch in the glossy finish would earn them an ear chewing from the boss.
The owners were due to fly in from Houston in time to celebrate New Year’s Eve on the island. Then they were scheduled for a few weeks of deep-sea fishing, eating and drinking before they returned to their home in Texas, leaving the captain and the two deckhands to bring their yacht back to its home berth at Seabrook Marina.
“It’s still damn early, but I’ll go ashore to see if anyone is available to process us through customs,” the captain said, gathering up his waterproof document folder and stepping over the transom. “If not, I’ll radio Cancun to tell them we’re here and will check in later in the morning.”
“Aye, aye Skipper,” the man said, offering a two-fingered sardonic salute to the back of the departing captain.
“Jeff, wait up. I’ll go with you and stretch my legs,” the short red-haired man said as he nimbly hopped onto the docks. He turned to the man, “Frank, you okay to stay with her until we get back?”
The man, the one they knew as Frank, waved, “Sure, Andy take your time,” he said. Remembering a humorous sign that he had seen in a bar on his previous visit to Isla Mujeres he mumbled, “And thank you very mucking futch for the ride.” It had been free transportation back to his hunting grounds.
It had been a busy three days for the man known as Frank. First, he had hitched a ride from Tampa to Houston with an accommodating long-haul truck driver. Parked behind a truckers’ gas station well away from the security cameras that were aimed at the fuel pumps, the body of the driver was now stinking up the cab of his rig. The driver’s death had been unavoidable as soon as he had agreed to give the hitchhiker a lift to Texas. The passenger’s clean-shaven image had been splashed across television news channels as one of the suspected fatalities in a fiery vehicle smash-up. Even with the beginning of a new beard and shaving off his dark hair he couldn’t risk leaving the driver alive. Most truckers were lonely gossips and this one had been very talkative. In no time at all, he would be telling his buddies he had dropped off that same man in Houston.
It had then taken him another full day to scour the numerous marinas for a captain who was leaving shortly, heading to Isla Mujeres for the sport fishing season. The third day was eaten up with the voyage to the island.
Inside the main salon, Frank checked the time. If he remembered correctly from his previous visit to the island he had seen the harbour masters office located a short walk south, close to the passenger ferry terminal. He probably had thirty to forty minutes tops, but at this hour of the morning it wasn’t likely anyone would be available to do the paperwork, so the two men would probably be back in twenty minutes. Time to move.
He quickly walked to his berth and slipped on a dark nylon windbreaker, pulling a peaked cap down over his skull. Once the sun was up he planned to wear a pair of dark sunglasses to hide his bright blue eyes.
A few minutes spent searching the other sleeping areas netted him about a two hundred and fifty dollars in cash and a small Nikon camera that he might be able to pawn for a few bucks. He was owed a portion of that for the sixteen hours he had already worked so he felt confident the men wouldn’t try to find him for such a small amount.
The captain, Jeff Crompton, had hired him on for cash wages to be paid at the end of the two weeks, but he had never asked for identification or a passport. He supposed Crompton didn’t really care if a deckhand was thrown in a Mexican jail for not having the proper paperwork. He could likely check around the gringo bars and hire another American, someone who wanted to work for a few weeks and have free transportation back to the States.
The blue-eyed man checked the time. Gotta go. Things to do, scores to settle and people to kill.
Available as an e-book on Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, or Nook. Paperback copies are available from Amazon. If you are on the island buy a copy at Jenny Penny Beach Boutique or Casa Sirena Hotel. It’s the perfect beach-read for your next vacation.